Mossey Joe to sidestep National

Mossey Joe will run in the Crabbie’s Fox Hunters’ Chase at Aintree rather than in the Grand National.

Mossey Joe to sidestep National

Owner Barry Connell confirmed that the Enda Bolger-trained 11-year-old will stick to the amateur ranks instead of taking on the professionals.

Mossey Joe won on his first start for Bolger in a point-to-point at Dromahane on Monday after connections decided to skip Cheltenham.

Connell said: “There were only six runners in the race and it was only a school round for him really, but we were very happy with him.

“The plan now is to go for the Fox Hunters’ in Aintree.

“He won’t run in the National, but we’ll see how he gets on over the fences and if he takes to them well, maybe he could go back for the National next year.

“He’ll be a 12-year-old by then, but he has very little mileage on the clock.”

Connell meanwhile is convinced Foxrock ran below his best in last week’s National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham.

The Ted Walsh-trained six-year-old was sent off the 3-1 favourite for the four-mile contest but could only finish ninth.

While Connell does not necessarily blame the ground for his poor display, he is only likely to run at the Punchestown Festival if rain arrives.

“It’s hard to know why he didn’t perform,” said Connell.

“I don’t think the ground was necessarily an issue. I don’t know whether he stayed or not, but I think it’s safe to say he didn’t run up to his best.

“He’d been very consistent going into Cheltenham, winning his two Grade Twos.

“I’m not sure what the plan will be for him now. It will all depend on the ground.

“He has already achieved a lot, so I’m not too bothered if he doesn’t run again this season.

“Having said that, if Punchestown get plenty of rain, we could think about running him there, so we’ll see.”

* Tony McCoy rode his 200th winner of the season when Palermo Don struck in the finale at Haydock.

The perennial champion jockey yet again reached the noteworthy landmark when he got Donald McCain’s 8-11 favourite home in the 32Red Tomb Raider Slot Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race.

Palermo Don had three lengths in reserve of Pied Du Roi at the winning line.

* John Butler will give Stand Guard a short break as he waits for the controversy that broke out after he was withdrawn on Tuesday to die down

Butler was not happy with the condition of the 10-year-old in the morning and withdrew the all-time leading all-weather scorer.

Stand Guard’s absence left the Neil Mulholland-trained Mr Burbidge to be sent off the 1-10 favourite and he obliged by nine lengths.

“I’m going to leave off him for a bit now,” said Butler.

“There are two races for him in April, one at Southwell and one at Wolverhampton – there aren’t many left for him now.

“I’ll just let everything calm down for a bit.

“He wasn’t 100% yesterday. He’d had two quickish runs, so I took him out.

“For some reason there was a lot of controversy but if I’m not happy with my horse, I’m not going to run him.

“The main thing is he seems fine this morning and he’ll have a bit of a break.”

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